There are many different ways that an organization can communicate new knowledge and ways of thinking. Two of the most popular ways are through presentations and facilitated sessions. As our corporate facilitators can tell you, there are some very distinct differences between these two styles.
By definition, a presentation is when an individual or a small group of people formally addresses a group. While many businesses will frame presentations in the context of a meeting, the typical discussion attached to a presentation occurs after presentation has concluded. This may take the form of a question-and-answer session, or it may take the form of a round-table discussion or separate meeting to discuss the findings.
Presentations will often include a string of information that begins with the problem the organization faced, the research done about the problem, conclusions made from that research and possible solutions the organization could explore.
A facilitated session is much more like a traditional meeting wherein all participants are working together toward solving a common problem or reaching a common goal. There is a meeting facilitator present to keep all of the participants focused on the task at hand and to provide a neutral and calm perspective within the room.
While facilitated sessions may begin with or include an informative or educational presentation, this is not the focus of the session. Instead, the focus of a session with a professional facilitator is to encourage discussion that leads the session participants to use the information provided to find or create their own solutions.
What Should My Organization Use?
Each of these styles of communication has its place within your organization. Hiring a Certified Master Facilitator is a great option when you are trying to get your company or individual teams to agree on an issue, to create a solution for a problem or to encourage a compromise between parties who cannot seem to agree. A contract facilitator can also be very useful for team-building exercises.
In contrast, presentations shine when they are used to offer information and solutions that have already been discovered. You may choose to have multiple presentations on the same topic from different individuals or groups to determine the best of the available solutions, but there is ultimately little collaboration or compromise necessary when you use presentations.